A few weeks after the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China faces multiple coronavirus outbreaks The infectious Omicron variant was driving outbreaks in half a dozen cities closer to the capital.
With the success of the Games and China’s national pride at stake, Beijing doubles down on its zero tolerance policy against the virus,
More than 20 million people across the country are in some form of imprisonmentMany of them are unable to leave their homes.
tianjin, a city only an hour away from Beijing, is on alertAlthough it avoided complete quarantine like Xi’an, a city of 14 million people.
Instead, isolated many residential areas and universities, canceled almost all flights, suspended high-speed train services and closed highways, People leaving the city had to submit a negative COVID-19 test and obtain a special permit.
The city on Wednesday conducted a second round of mass testing for its 14 million residents and asked them to stay home until negative results came in.
Even then, Population restrictions in Tianjin remained relatively loose.
“Everything is fine, supermarkets and restaurants, you can go to everything normally,” said Yu Xuan, who works at a university in Tianjin.
The measures are in high demand in several cities in the west, Xi’an and Henan provinces, with complaints that those kept in their apartments were running out of food.
China has maintained a firm containment policy almost since the start of the pandemic, beginning with the unprecedented move to isolate 11 million people from the central city of Wuhan, where the virus was first detected., along with other parts of Hubei province in January 2020.
Beijing has battled local outbreaks with the help of increased digital surveillance, with quarantines, stricter border controls and contact tracing. The measures have so far prevented a nationwide outbreak. The vaccination rate is over 85 percent.
Olympic boycott to begin on 4 February And with aid workers already arriving in the city, the task of keeping the virus at bay becomes even more important. A key question is whether Beijing’s safeguards will hold up against the Omicron version.
China reported 124 local infections on Thursday, including 76 in Henan province and 41 in Tianjin, The authorities have registered a total of 104,379 cases, of which 3,460 are active, and 4,636 deaths, a figure that hasn’t changed in months.
The lack of large outbreaks in China means the population is protected only by vaccines, not by antibodies produced by previous infections.Dr. Vinita Bal, a leading Indian immunologist said.
,Olympics will be the first testBal said, noting that Omicron “could easily travel to China.”
Unlike the bubble used at the Tokyo Games, there will be no contact between the people involved in the competitions and the outside world in Beijing.
Officials, athletes, staff and journalists will travel between hotels and sporting venues in designated vehicles, described as a closed-loop system. Chinese citizens will have to quarantine for three weeks to release the bubble,
Garbage will also be processed separately,
If the measures are strictly enforced, they should stop the virus from spreading inside the bubble, said Kei Saito, a virologist at the University of Tokyo. But the question turns out.
“Omicron is three to four times more contagious than Delta,” Saito said. ,I find it almost impossible to control Omicron’s expansion,
However, despite controversies such as the pandemic and the United States-led diplomatic boycott of the Games, the organizers are determined to see the event go ahead.
,The world is looking to China, and China is ready, Xi Jinping, President of China and leader of the Communist Party of China, said, During an inspection tour of the Olympic sites last week.